Due to the COVID-19 lockdown period, feedback was extended by an extra week. This closed at 4:00 pm, Friday 1 October 2021. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to submit.

Have you thought about what Nelson’s City Centre will look like in 30 years’ time? How will we move around it? How will we live in it? How will it enable our retail, business, and art sectors to thrive? What can we do to make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change?

Council has explored these questions and many more with a wide range of stakeholders and experts and has produced Te Ara ō Whakatū - the pathways of Nelson, our draft City Centre Spatial Plan.


Feedback ran from Monday 30 August and closed Friday 1 October 2021.

You can click on the pdf link on the right-hand column or scroll down to see a summary of our eight actions and an FAQ.

Eight Transformative Actions

Te Ara ō Whakatū identifies eight actions which bring together our culture, environment, streets, precincts, developments, places and links into one framework. Note: street render images are conceptual and not actual designs.

FAQ - what do you want to know about Te Ara ō Whakatū?

Answers to some of the more common questions we have been asked during the early engagement process. If you have a question you would like answered email the City Centre Development Team at citycentre@ncc.govt.nz.

A great place for people...

The future of our cities belongs to people. They are places where people live, work and play, and when well-planned, they are hubs for growth and innovation.

Cities that plan for liveability, growth, and innovation, attract talent, investment, and economic growth that is mutually beneficial to wider social, cultural, and economic outcomes.

Our city centre has long served as an engine of productivity and growth for the Whakatū Nelson region and with a diverse array of people, businesses and organisations already calling this area home we are off to a fine start. And while where people choose to live is often influenced by affordability and employment, more people are choosing to reside where overall liveability is greatest.

Connected to each other...

Whakatū Nelson is nestled among some of the most breath-taking natural environments the world has to offer. They are critical to the social, cultural and economic success of the city.

Ensuring that our city centre offers a contrasting, yet complementary and connected experience to that found in our natural environment, is an integral step-change in realising its potential as a vibrant, bustling, place for people

Nelson is shifting away from being a place where people stop for a quick purchase to becoming a destination. A place people want to visit for its great boutique shopping, amazing food and hospitality and memorable events. A city centre where we encounter and meet friends and linger longer.

Strong connections have physical and mental health benefits as well. A well linked centre encourages walking and discovery. Turning a corner to find an inspired artwork can turn a routine trip into town into something much more meaningful.

With a vibrant heart...

Set between the sea and the hills, Nelson’s city centre is the figurative heart of Te Tauihu. With boutique shopping, world-class dining and a creative arts and artisan culture, the city complements the wider region.

Street-life is busy on weekdays and Saturdays are characterised by ‘market-day’, when locals and visitors come out in numbers - shopping, socialising and bringing life to the city centre.

But as workers, students, and residents exit the city centre outside of these times, activity quickly diminishes. Nelson’s city centre needs ways to keep its streets busy, becoming a city that’s full of activity for 15 hours in a day.

Te Aro ō Whakatū is an opportunity to create a city centre with the necessary conditions to support social, cultural and economic vibrancy. This includes increased housing and accommodation options for more residents, and higher quality public spaces that invite activity at all times.

In a smart economy...

A smart economy is one where productivity and wages increase, housing is attainable, and new employment sectors emerge attracting talent of all ages. A regenerative economy looks to attract innovators to help solve global issues like climate change, restoring the environment and reducing emissions to transition beyond an economy dependent on greenhouse gas emissions.

Project Kōkiri has a three-point plan, which the City Centre needs to reflect and support:

  • Intelligent Guardians – utilising Nelson’s legacy of intellectual capital, research and science supporting a green economy
  • Makers & Creators – celebrating Nelson’s unique talents: our artists, brewers, scientists and entrepreneurs as an expression of our place, in our place
  • Clever & Connected – multifaceted regional offering that is second to none with aligned strategies and visions for living, transport, access and learning

  • Aligning with key regional economic strategies, Te Ara ō Whakatū will provide the means to make a successful city centre part of a celebrated regional economy for residents, businesses, and visitors.

    As an economic centre in the Top of the South, Nelson’s city centre requires a vision that supports local business, shops and hospitality. Over 600 businesses operate in central Nelson and many have faced a challenging few years due to online shopping trends, and no overseas visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Picture a greener destination featuring a Linear Park and new streets, laneways, and spaces for people, more active and public transport, and extraordinary inner-city living surrounded by world-class hospitality. Whakatū Nelson is place where residents and visitors can share memorable experiences, inspired by our region’s cultural heritage.

    In a resilient environment...

    Nelson City Council has made commitments to develop and implement plans to mitigate climate change by reducing Council operational greenhouse gas emissions and supporting resilience within Council and our community. Alignment on Te Ara ō Whakatū with Council’s Climate Action Plan (in development) is underway.

    While strategies and policies are further developed for challenges associated with climate change, Council aims to achieve Net Zero carbon by 2050.

    Te Ara ō Whakatū provides the opportunity to identify solutions that help build resilience into our city centre. Te Ara ō Whakatū sets in place climate change initiatives to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change in the next 30 years.

    The 30-year vision for Te Ara ō Whakatū will strengthen our climate resilience by implementing green infrastructure, green boulevards, and greener streets while also supporting housing intensification.

    City Centre stormwater infrastructure

    Te Ara ō Whakatū supports city-wide improvements for stormwater treatment with low-impact design measures such as rain gardens and devices that allow clean stormwater to flow back safely into our natural waterways. These infrastructure measures will also build additional future capacity that anticipates increased storm event activities.

    Urban greening

    Te Ara ō Whakatū supports additional street trees and low-level gardens across the city. These measures will provide amenity for residents and visitors, help reduce the urban heat island effect for urban living, provide resilience against increasing temperatures and more frequent storms, increase the sequestration of carbon emissions, support greater urban biodiversity, promote cultural identity and feature a mix of native and exotic vegetation.